The telecom department (DoT) cleared Idea Cellular’s sale of nearly 9,000-odd standalone towers to a local arm of American Tower Corp (ATC) for Rs 4,000 crore.
A top DoT official told that the “Idea-ATC captive towers deal has been approved”.This marks the conclusion of the US tower company’s two-stage buyout of Vodafone India and Idea’s near 20,000-odd combined standalone towers for Rs 7,850 crore. Last month, the government had cleared Vodafone India’s sale of its 10,926 captive towers to ATC for Rs 3,850 crore.
The government is learnt to have also assured that the Kumar Birla–led Idea Cellular would be granted approval on its crucial application for increasing foreign direct investment (FDI) shortly, for its upcoming merger with Vodafone India.
India’s third-largest telco, Idea and the second-ranked Vodafone India, which are combining to form the country’s biggest phone company by revenue and subscribers, are expected to close their merger next month.Last November, Vodafone India and Idea had announced plans to sell their respective standalone towers to a local ATC arm for Rs 7,850 crore ($1.2 billion) in cash, in a move aimed at paring debt in the run of their mega merger.
Vodafone India and Idea have also said that on conclusion of their merger, some 6,300 tenancies of both carriers co-located on the towers being sold to ATC would get converted into single tenancies over two years without the payment of exit penalties.